Canary Wharf in London invests in Genetec Security Center

Canary Wharf in London invests in Genetec Security Center
Business Challenge
Canary Wharf is one the busiest business and financial districts in London, England. It offers over 14 million square feet of office and retail space on 97 acres, and welcomes over 140,000 people daily. Many major banks, professional services firms and media organizations, including Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, J.P. Morgan have their global or European headquarters within the bustling district.

Canary Wharf Group, a fully integrated property development and management company, caters to every aspect of the district’s high-quality needs, including security. According to Mike Walker, Security Technology Manager at Canary Wharf Management, “Our job is to ensure it’s always business as usual. We’re managing a mini city, and we want people to feel comfortable and secure without being invasive. It’s all about finding that balance.”

Canary Wharf had been running an old analog DVR-based video system, which was unreliable, difficult to scale, and lacked flexibility. According to Mike Walker, “With the support from security operations and management, we were ready to move to IP. We wanted a system that could be used with many different technologies, and accommodate standard IT practices.”

The IT team remained objective in their search by contacting many different companies to trial different IP video solutions. It was only upon meeting representatives from Genetec that they were sold on the Omnicast video surveillance system. Apart from being impressed with the long list of hardware integrations, the flexibility of the open platform, and its robust software development kit, Mike Walker and his team valued one key factor: “Genetec was the first company that understood us. They were able to answer all of our questions, and proved that they understood the network and IT functions. It was a lightbulb moment; Genetec spoke our IT language.”

Security Center Enhances Growth and Operator Interaction
Since the initial migration from analog to Omnicast IP video surveillance, Canary Wharf has upgraded its security system to encompass the entire suite of security solutions within Security Center, the unified security platform from Genetec. The Synergis access control system has been provided to tenants for visitor management tasks, and a C-Cure plugin within Security Center has allowed for a full integration with other doors.

The team tracks vehicles within Canary Wharf’s peninsula by using the AutoVu automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system which automatically notifies police of hotlist hits. Canary Wharf has also added a car barrier system. At the touch of a button, operators can block vehicle roadways when a situation requires immediate district lockdown.

The Synergis access control system has been provided to tenants for visitor management tasks, and a C-Cure plugin within Security Center has allowed for a full integration with other doors. 

Other custom integrations have been added within Security Center, including a tenant communication system called Shop Alert. In the event of an emergency, operators can discreetly send text messages to store clerks and suggest procedures such as an immediate evacuation. Clerks can also alert security staff to disturbances by pressing a distress button, which automatically triggers an alarm within Security Center with video from nearby cameras.

According to Bernadette Bashford-Payne, Estate Control Center Manager at Canary Wharf, “Why have separate systems when you can have it all in one? All of the information we need is available from one central platform. We originally procured the system for one purpose, but we are recognizing so much more opportunity and value in our system as we continue adding automation and integrations.”

Amping Up Investigations with Maps and Secured Sharing
To simplify the management of thousands of devices, operators use Plan Manager, the built-in map interface of Security Center. From the map, they can respond to alarms, pull up cameras in specific zones, lock and unlock doors, check device statuses, and even track subjects when seconds count.

“With the size of our estate, the map interface saves us so much time,” explains Bernadette Bashford-Payne. “Our team can quickly follow a subject through the business district. Within seconds, we can pull up camera sequences which help to tell the story, identifying where the subject came from and how events happened. Then, we let police handle the rest.”

Canary Wharf actively works with the police and other government agencies, and credits the unified security platform with streamlining communication with these outside departments. High-ranking security team members can remotely access or securely share video with authorities using highly-secured encryptions and other security tokens.

Extending the Benefits of Unified Security to Business Operations
Apart from security, Canary Wharf is making the most of the unified platform, leveraging video and data for operational benefits when possible. Retrieving video archives to review how events were handled helps management and other agencies improve response processes.

The video and data from Security Center are also often used to prove or disprove corporate liability claims within the district by the insurance department. ALPR data is used to conduct various analytic reports on inbound and outbound traffic within the district, leading to improved roadways, parking and traffic management.

From a business standpoint, Security Center is helping to retain and attract their many prestigious clients. “At Canary Wharf Group, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technology. When we bring potential clients through our control room, the system provides the wow factor that helps us sell our business district. This system helps us convince our clients how secure they will be here, and how efficient our security team is,” concluded Mike Walker.

Infrastructure at a Glance
Security Center manages 1750 cameras and 17 ALPR cameras, and a built-in C-Cure plugin provides full integration with over 1000 doors. The Synergis access control system has also been implemented within four buildings at turnstile entrances for visitor management tasks. The system has been designed with full redundancy and failover, ensuring video and data is accessible at all times. Video is archived at full resolution and kept for a minimum of 28 days.

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